Monday, August 7, 2017

On Nick Robinson

Originally I wrote most of this is a Google Doc and deleted it. I had seen a lot of thoughts and takes on the situation and didn't really want to inundate twitter with Yet Another Nick Robinson Take. However, as time has gone on I haven't seen some of the things that I had taken away from the situation echoed elsewhere.

Something that I've been trying to get a grasp on is what can I learn from this situation. Most importantly, are there ways that I could have sniffed that he was not as good of a person as I thought he was before this situation exploded. I've come around to two things that I should have picked up on.

First, Nick's public persona wasn't consistent. While in his videos and podcasts for Polygon he was generally a nice, funny person, he wasn't like that everywhere. Despite loving his videos he made for work, I only briefly followed him on twitter because he was kind of a nasty asshole. He was rude and sarcastic and I didn't like it. He wasn't a nice person there. At the time, I didn't take away from that experience that I should be wary of his general character. I didn't think that maybe he's not a nice person and just puts on a nice face for his work projects.

I feel like the conclusion is that a nice/good person is going to be generally nice/good in every context. Not 100% of the time (we all have bad days), but if there's a significant part of a person's interactions with other people where they aren't nice, that's a sign of something and shouldn't be ignored. A corollary to this is the Waiter Rule saying that you can tell a lot about a person's character based on how they treat waiters/waitresses. There are lots of versions of this rule, such as a person should pay good attention to how their significant other talks about their exes and I think I need to take better notice of such things.

(Something to add to the "Waiter Rule" section is that if a person is being abused/attacked/threatened in some way, they don't have to be nice in response necessarily. Those situations aren't normal circumstances, but the ways that a person responds or deals with the situation could speak volumes, such as those who bring up Donald Trump or Chris Christie's weight into every criticism or people who are popular on social media who sic their followers on any and all critics.)

Secondly, I follow (at least) one of the people who he harassed, and they had tweeted a criticism of the "soft boy" aesthetic, saying that it (the appearance of being a nice, harmless person) could be used to hide their bad behavior or protect themselves from accusations of bad behavior. At the time, in the fandoms/communities I was in, there were two people who came to mind as being "soft boys" and Nick was one of them. When I read that criticism, I took it as an abstract, theoretical critique and not as something that was grounded in their real world experience. While pinning that on Nick would be difficult, since there wouldn't have been much of a way to be sure who they were referring to, my failure to read the criticism as coming from a place of real experience was a failure on my part. These sorts of criticisms probably come from somewhere and I should have realized that.

Anyway, that's what I've got.